June 28, 2012 at 12:27 PM ET
Video of a woman giving birth in an open MRI machine is giving the world a first-ever glimpse of what childbirth looks like from the inside.
Researchers hope the MRI video will provide new insight into preventing birth complications.
The baby was born in November, 2010 at Charité University Hospital in Berlin, Germany; photos of the MRI images were published earlier, but the video was just published this month in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynocology.
The video shows the final 45 minutes of labor. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is safe for pregnant women and babies; the main hazard was the loud noise the machine makes. Mom wore headphones to protect her hearing, and the baby's ears were protected by amniotic fluid -- they turned the MRI machine off when the baby's head started to come out.
To this day, many aspects of birth remain a medical mystery -- one that researchers are hoping to unravel.
"The main reasons for the research are to answer the question of why a birth may stall and to visually capture the birthing process and any complications," Dr. Christian Bamberg, who led the research team, told Reuters in 2010. "The images are spectacular. They show which movements the fetus makes in the birth canal, how its bones move and how its head changes shape during birth."
Mom and baby were healthy, and they both left the hospital two days after the birth.